I need my moustache. Need it. And not just because without it, I look like a burn victim. I need it because not only does it define me, but it defines everything I am not. It is more than just my man-badge, more than proof that I am a male over the age of 14. It’s hard to reduce something as complex, magical and transformative as a moustache into mere petty and crude words.
I will attempt at the very least to respectively discuss the mystery of the champagne of facial hair.
First off, I always spell it ‘moustache’ as opposed to ‘mustache’. ‘Moustache’ apparently is the Canadian and U.K. spelling. My theory as to why I started using this spelling as a young American is that a lot of what I read as a child came from British authors. Particularly comic books by Brits. I must have picked it up off of Neil Gaiman or Alan Moore. Either word is derived from the 16th Century French word, which shares the same spelling as the U.K./Canadian version. This is derived from the 8th Century Italian word, “mostaccio,” which if you follow all the way down the line ultimately comes from the Hellenistic Greek word
Which if we’re honest with ourselves would sound like a super boss Norweigan/glittercore/electronic/shoegaze/dance/trendwhore band.
Point is, the word moustache in any variation is a beautiful word.
I have attempted over the years to add to this pantheon by way of various slang terms and colorful monikers for my and other lucky men’s moustaches.
They are as follows:
Sexual Velcro: Calling your facial hair this is an almost air tight guarantee that you’re going to be sipping from a chalice filled with the tears of virgins by night’s end. Which means you’re either going to get totally super laid or extremely not and/or re-virginized yourself. Regardless, you’re going to make an impression and goddammit—what could be more important?
Sexual Velcro also conjures up the image of two Freddie Mercury studbots locking word holes and letting their face forests intermingle and intertwine. Becoming a hairy gay voltron of unimaginable and unshaven delights.
Of course, the hair of the moustache can be locked onto the hair of any part of a partner’s body. So guys with hippie granola-whore girlfriends don’t have to feel left out.
Two Nine-Year-Olds’ Eyebrows Above My Lip: This one kinda just explains itself right? It is really only an appropriate handle for your thinner, more waifish ‘staches. A Kate Moss pencil job a la John Waters is begging to be called this.
The Man-badge: See beginning of this piece.
Sex Boomerang: Throw it away, it always comes back.
You can see what this is all coming back to, the moustache is the ultimate expression of man’s dual nature of wild primitive grace and refined, cultivated gentlemanly aspirations. In short, the moustache is the supreme statement of a man’s sexuality.
Hitler:Small, narrow and rigidly centered. Truly a fascist’s moustache if ever there was one. It makes one wonder why Adolf would even have such an expressionist and passionate hairstyle on his face (even if it was a small unimaginative one). Well, Hitler was a failed artist. Perhaps the little black strip beneath his nose was his last fledgling vestige of brazen and uncorrupted humanity. And even he couldn’t bear to wipe it off his face.
Charlie Chaplin: Short, whimsical, but thick (I know, I know it’s the exact same moustache as Hitler). Chaplin himself exploited this similarity in his film The Great Dictator, where he satirized Hitler. But moustaches are more than just pubes framing someone’s lips. They are a personality enhancer. And when Chaplin wears his (albeit fake) moustache as the Little Tramp, the small little toothbrush moustache becomes a playful and flirty little mouth diplomat.
Burt Reynolds: Now we’re getting to the big leagues. Burt in full 70s moustache glory. We’re talking Smokey and The Bandit moustache. We’re talking Cannonball Run (came out in 1980 but was shot in 1979!). Burt’s moustache at full power was a beautiful black phoenix, wings spread wide over his always piercing smile.
That’s another good point.
When a moustached man smiles, it’s like the universe hikes up its skirt and lets you have a peek at her pink quivering wonderful (the universe is allowed to be both an “it” and a “her” because it’s the fucking universe).
Back to Burt: his moustache just screams man sex. Screams it in a deep loud roar like a bear having multiple orgasms in a wind tunnel. You ever see Burt sans stache? He looks like a sad wax statue. He looks like the Death Star in Return Of The Jedi— incomplete, defenseless and ready for defeat by something small and furry.
Frank Zappa: Dark, jagged upper lip obliterating. A sardonic and dirty clam tickler. A pervert mad scientist’s moustache that looked like black popsicles hanging upside down over a chain-smoking cave. That or a flattened bat.
Frida Kahlo: Yep, a chick. But her moustache still said a lot about her sexuality. Bold, subversive, dark and beguiling. It had the effect not unlike seeing your girlfriend wearing one of your shirts or a suit and tie. Despite the androgyny seeing them all dolled up in man garb just accentuates everything that is soft, feminine and not man about them. Frida’s ‘stache made her even prettier. Now, the unibrow…
Tom Selleck: I don’t know what can really surpass this ‘stache? It achieves so much so effortlessly. It’s a classic ‘stache that doesn’t look so crafted that it gets that contrived retro ‘stache look that a lot of misguided dorks go for nowadays. It looks like a bowtie on top of Magnum P.I.’s confident sun kissing lips. Quite simply no moustaches can stand up to this one. Except maybe for one…
Sam Elliot: For most people of my generation he is best known as the cowboy narrator from The Big Lebowski. But the man and his moustache have graced the screen so many times and each time with amazing ‘stache moments. He can really do it all. The huge horseshoe-ranch hand-pornstar moustache. The 3-day-drinking binge-stubble moustache. The horizontal mouth comma. The man has range. His moustache is American, wild, lustful and wise.
Whose ‘stache wins between Sam Elliot and Tom Selleck?
Who wins between the sky and the sea?
There can be no contest for one is the other. Only inverted. Plus, they can’t really fight because what can they do to each other? I guess air could blow water around a little bit, but then water would totally turn into a gigantor mega wave and like destroy a tornado’s face. Actually, I don’t really think that’d work. Okay—thought about it. Sky would totally kick sea’s ass.
So you see my moustache is something I need not only as a visual aesthetic to cover up my excessive facespace (It’s seriously alarming how much real-estate I have on that thing when I take off the old clit comb), but also is a symbol that best represents where society has taken today’s man and his sexual evolution. Having the ability to grow and shave one’s facial hair in essence makes one a master of his own pubic destiny. The choices basically boil down to three: Clean Shaven, Beard or Moustache. (Sidebar: We’re not going to even discuss goatees or soul patches because they are the inbred mentally retarded hybrid spawn of beards and moustaches and are abominations in the eyes of this writer as well as God. Shit or get off the pot, Goatee people. For real.)
If you choose to go clean shaven you have basically castrated your face.
You have removed any traces of mandom from your visage. You have become so afraid of your own powerful man wolf sex urges that you have decided to reject them completely. You have decided to live a lie and make your face look like a girl’s.
And I hate you for this.
As all sane men must hate liars. You don’t deserve to have the moustache you refuse to grow. Your clean shaven moustache-less face is an abortion you perform daily with a Gillette Razor and shaving cream.
If you choose to go full beard you are likewise rejecting the feminine and smooth parts that make up any true man’s sexual identity. You are opting to cover them up with such an ostentatiously manly facade. There can be no doubt that you are indeed hiding a weak and impotent sexual character. A beard is the equivalent of buying a monster truck for your face.
You think you look super Norse Viking hard-ass but really you’re just telling others that you are a sad man with a small wiener. Only this wiener sometimes gets breakfast burritos stuck in it. And when you return from lunch break no one at work will tell you that there’s burrito shrapnel in your beard, they’ll only laugh at you and point when you’re not looking. Then you go home and look in the mirror and see it staring back at you and realize that no one at work really likes you. Then you shave the monster truck off your face.
The only choice that makes sense in the rapidly shifting world we find ourselves in—a world of sexual ambiguity and treacherous breakfast burritos—is to grow a moustache. A moustache is recognizing the animal and beast within, appreciating and accepting it. But not giving in to it completely. Not losing the softer and more beautiful elements that also make up a man. A moustache achieves the symmetry and careful dichotomy needed to fully represent the integrated but not wholly estranged modern sexual man.